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It’s Time for a Performance Review

It’s Time for a Performance Review

“You know, the finest line a man will walk is between success at work and success at home.”

That’s a quote from Del Griffith, John Candy’s character in the 1987 movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I’ve seen the movie a handful of times, but have never really given it much thought. I just enjoy Steve Martin and John Candy. Who doesn’t? But, as I watched it again recently, the truth contained within that one seemingly throwaway line really stuck with me.

The work-home balance is indeed a hot topic. Yes, it is possible to be successful in both, but if the scales tip to one side, the other will most certainly suffer the consequences.

A key ingredient for success, at home or at work, is time. Sure, talent can get you a long way at the office, but you can’t underestimate the value of hard work and putting in the hours. And, love is mandatory for a happy home, but there’s no substitute for actually being there.

The more I see, the more I am convinced that love is simply not enough to have “success” in your home. It’s required, but it is still not the most important component. I love my children, but if I’m not there with them and for them, what good is it? Our children need our love, most certainly. But, they crave our time and attention.

As we near the year’s end, in many places of business, attention turns to the annual performance review. I think about the things I’ve accomplished over the past year, along with the areas I know need improvement. The whole purpose of this process is to take a moment to evaluate progress and identify problem areas, all with the hopes of becoming better. Maybe it’s time we institute this practice at home.

I know what would show up on my Family Performance Review.

I’m fortunate that my job doesn’t require extensive travel taking me away from my family. I work fairly regular hours, barring some major event or catastrophe. By and large, my physical presence at home is not at issue. For me, it’s more mental. Too often, I’m thinking about what I have left at the office – the emails I have to answer, the things left on my to-do list and the meetings I have coming up in the week. I know I’m not alone. The smartphone, while certainly convenient, becomes a problem in our homes, tethering us to the office and distracting us from our loved ones. Sometimes, I don’t even realize it until my daughter says, “Daddy, put your phone down.” Okay, you have my attention.

Evangelist Billy Graham recently celebrated his 95th birthday. What a remarkable life he has lived! He has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history—nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. And, he’s still reaching people today! Still, when asked by Christianity Today a couple years ago if he would have done anything differently, his response was:

“Yes, of course. I’d spend more time at home with my family, and I’d study more and preach less. I wouldn’t have taken so many speaking engagements, including some of the things I did over the years that I probably didn’t really need to do—weddings and funerals and building dedications, things like that. Whenever I counsel someone who feels called to be an evangelist, I always urge them to guard their time and not feel like they have to do everything.”

Time is important. Take a lesson from what Billy Graham learned in his experience. Take a serious inventory of the things that demand your time, and choose wisely. There’s only so much time left, and our families should certainly take priority over many of the things we currently feel obligated to accommodate.

Is your focus on your job impacting your home? Are you putting in more time to be successful in your career than in being successful your family? If your answer is yes, as it is so often for me, maybe it’s time for a performance review in your home.

Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at You can also follow him on Twitter.

Article adapted from "Love Is Not Enough" at ApParent Stuff. Used with permission.

Publication date: November 19, 2013